American Lung Association - Clean Air Choice Follow Us on Twitter   
Join us on Facebook   

More Information


Clean Vehicles: Electric & Hybrids (Hybrid Electric & Plug In Hybrid Electric)

Are electric vehicles ready to go?
Electric vehicles are on the road today around the country. It has been predicted that there may be as many as 30 choices of 100% electric vehicles (EVs) by 2015, along with 50 models of hybrids and 20 plug-in hybrids (discussed below). EVs have zero tailpipe emissions. They are powered by plugging in to an outlet or charging station and refilling their batteries as needed. The mix of fuels used by your power utility for electricity generation will determine the full life-cycle emissions of your EV, but it will almost always be cleaner than using gasoline. Those using wind or solar power to recharge will produce no air pollution from the electricity generation. Electric engines are more efficient than combustion engines, resulting in a cost of about 2 to 3 cents per mile for electricity.

Throughout the upper Midwest, communities are preparing the infrastructure needed to ensure widespread use of EVs. We are proud to partner with Drive Electric Minnesota, Drive Electric Illinois and other local initiatives to help enable this Clean Air Choice for drivers.

What are Hybrid Electric & Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicles?
Hybrids are vehicles that combine an internal combustion engine with an electric motor as the power source. The electric motor and battery storage dramatically increase the fuel economy in comparison to a standard gasoline-burning engine. Hybrids can experience an increase up to 30 percent in fuel economy. Today, there are three categories of hybrid: mild, full, and plug-in.

  • Mild: the electric drive motor assists the fuel engine when extra power is needed. However, the electric drive motor is not capable of powering the vehicle by itself.
  • Full: this model adds a battery system with the electric drive motor and the internal combustion engine allowing the hybrid vehicle to run on the electric motor alone under certain operating conditions.
  • Plug-In: Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVS) have a very large high-capacity battery bank that can be re-charged by plugging in to normal household current or by using the on-board charging capabilities of normal hybrids. The battery capacity is strong enough that the internal combustion engine is the backup while the battery takes main stage in producing power to the vehicle.

Why are Hybrid Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicles Clean Air Choices®?
Depending on the model, hybrid vehicles can reduce smog pollution by 90 percent or more in comparison to the cleanest conventional vehicles today. Plus hybrids will cut emission of global-warming pollutants by a third to a half with the future hybrid models aiming to reduce global warming pollutants by even more. Also, with renewable technology advancements, such as wind and solar, the source of the electricity for the hybrid electric motor component can be renewable and environmentally friendly.

Any other benefits?

  • Cost: if the price is considered over the life of the vehicle, hybrids should be competitively priced or less expensive due to a decrease in fuel consumption.
  • Performance: the combination of fuel and electric power leads to greater ranges than traditional combustion engines.
  • Availability: the electricity and the fuel to power a hybrid can be purchased and accessed easily. With more interest and technology emerging, more hybrid models are being developed and should be available in the near future. Some rumors mention an "e-flex" vehicle: a hybrid with the capability to run on E85.

For more information on Hybrids please visit U.S Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website or contact your local American Lung Association office.


American Lung Association, Upper Midwest Region
490 Concordia Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55103-2441
Phone: 651-227-8014
Fax: 651-227-5459
Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Use  |